Each year in many countries around the world the month of March is set aside as Women’s History Month to recognize the unique contributions of women to our history and cultures. This coincides with the annual International Women’s Day celebrated each March 8. (In Canada Women’s History Month is recognized in October and coincides with the celebration of Person’s Day on October 18.)
I love history. I love the insights we can gain by understanding how we arrived where we are now. It’s so easy to forget, or perhaps never even know, the steps that were taken, the sacrifices that were made, the mistakes and obstacles that were overcome to make it possible for us to have the many privileges and blessings we have today. The time I recently spent at the Women’s Rights National Park in Seneca Falls was one of those times for purposefully reminding myself of just how much I have to be thankful for. Women who would never even know my name made huge sacrifices to make sure I have a place at the citizenship table. That’s just one of many rights and privileges I have that are the result of the actions of so many unknown women throughout history.
As much as I value those large-scale, culture-wide contributions made by women and the many benefits I receive as a result of their actions, I think I’m even more moved by the actions of my female family members, those women who I’m directly linked with through history. They may not have changed the course of history for a country, or perhaps even for their town, but their actions have had a direct impact on who I am and what I’ve been able to achieve.
I want to close out Women’s History Month by purposefully reminding myself of the choices that have been made by others that have benefited me. I want to encourage myself that the many choices I make, week in and week out, large and small, are having an impact for the women who are coming after me. I want to remind myself, and you, too, that our lives aren’t just lived for ourselves. The way we live our lives makes a difference in the opportunities that will be available for our daughters, our nieces, our goddaughters, and all the many other women (and men) that still have their lives ahead of them. For the rest of this week, I am going to be focusing on a few of the women who have influenced my life and telling you a little about how their actions have made my life possible. I hope they encourage you to take a look at the women who have made a difference in your own life and celebrate them. Let’s purposefully remember why we are here.